A prayer in response to hopelessness and depression // the study of Psalm 143

My heart is filled with hope this morning as I meditate on the words of King David found in Psalm 143. These 12 verses beautifully illustrate a prayer that is both timeless & practical for us to utilize in our own times of trouble.

This is one of the prayers David cried out in the midst of darkness and hopelessness. Like David I find myself in places of deep darkness which I’m unable to escape with my own strength.

Psalm 143
Lord hear my prayer,
listen to me for my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgement,
for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like parched land.
Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit falls.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like all those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord.
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.”

 

I love this psalm! It is a perfect example for us to model in response to trials, loss of hope, depression, fear, worry, anxiety, & trouble in general. Although David was clearly in the midst of darkness he prayed a prayer that recognized & acknowledged the mighty character of God.

1.David comes humbly before God.

Our own conceit, selfishness, & pride land us in a world of trouble while keeping us from truly repenting of our sinful ways. I love that David starts this prayer with humbling words that admit the faults of human flesh “no one living is righteous before you” while exalting the character of the King “in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.”

We must humble ourselves before the Lord!

 

2. David remembers what God has already done.

In the middle of his despair I’m sure David didn’t feel warm & fuzzy … he probably didn’t feel like trusting or praising or remembering all of God’s goodness. He probably wanted to buy into whatever lies the enemy was feeding him. He was being attacked. Verse 3, “The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.” Like us, I’m sure David was tempted to sulk in his human feelings & go into a tailspin of “woe is me.”

But he DIDN’T. Instead, he responded as true believers should, with wisdom that faith is not a feeling and therefore our feelings SHOULD NOT determine our faith!

Verse 5 “I remember the days of long ago, I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”

Faith means we take God at His word, no matter what. When we face battles we must remember God’s history of being a faithful, promise-keeping, protecting, working-all-things-out-for-our-good, Daddy. Whether that means reminding yourself of your personal history with God or running to the word to read another person’s story, when we meditate on His record our hearts are renewed with trust & peace.

 

3. David is honest in prayer.

David responded in prayer that poured out a broken spirit while recognizing the Perfect Spirit who holds all things together. His words are a testament to His close, personal relationship with the Father as he expresses his true feelings… not trying to put on heirs, or sugarcoat, or feel pressured to be perfect/proper before the Lord.

We don’t have to be afraid to share our honest feelings with God…He already knows them & He LONGS for us to trust Him with them. It would crush my soul if my husband was constantly tiptoeing around me, holding in his emotions, afraid to open up & express his heart in a real way. As a wife I would feel like I did not truly know Tyler, I would feel like our relationship was fake.

Imagine the hurt our Dad must feel when His children demonstrate this closed off behavior. David shows us we can approach our Lord exactly as we are! He can handle all of our feelings, emotions, needs, desires & wants. Just think… David was praying this way even before the cross! Now that we are living under the New Covenant we have even more freedom to approach the throne of God with total boldness & confidence!

 

4. David doesn’t forget his identity.

Even in trying times, David remembers who HE IS as a servant of God & he speaks this truth aloud to remind himself of the promises. Over the last few months I’ve come to realize that much of our sin/temptation, trials, suffering, & despair comes down to an issue of stolen identity.

Satan is ITCHING to wage a war on your mind by convincing you that your identity lies in something or someone else other than JESUS CHRIST. Little by little he tricks us into believing lies, & little by little our promises from God are stolen/forgotten.

Think about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Three times Satan tries to tempt Jesus with words to make him question his true identity as the Messiah. Twice he says, “IF you are the Son of God do this…” & in another instance he says, “I will give you authority and splendor….” As if Jesus didn’t know that all authority already belonged to Him because He IS the Son of God!! Satan thought he could get Jesus to sin by taking away His identity.

I believe this same identity attack is at the root of much of our problems/sins/fears/worries in this life. Once we recognize it, we can fight it like David did by speaking God’s TRUTH over our lives.

Verses 8-9 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you, show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you.” Verse 12 “In your unfailing love, silence my enemies, destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.”

We must believe who GOD SAYS WE ARE & be so efficient at recognizing His voice that all others voices ricochet off our protected minds. Even when we don’t feel it we have to fight by stepping into our true identity as a child of a King, powerful, mighty, courageous, protected, loved, & heirs to the Kingdom!

 

5. David desires God’s glory, not his own.

David demonstrates an unselfish, Kingdom centered prayer. He is not merely asking for guidance for selfish reasons or rescuing for mere personal gain.. rather He is asking to be taught God’s will & to shine His glory.

Verse 10-11 “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life, in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.’

David was asking to be taught God’s will so that he could live in a way that glorified His great name. He desired to be rescued from the darkness, not so that he could fulfill his own desires, but for the purpose of the Kingdom. David’s heart was not selfish in his requests, it was a heart chasing after the heart of God.

Are you desiring the fruition of your plans or the fruition of God’s plans? Do your desires match up with the Lord’s? Are you living for yourself or for the Lord?

 

Today, I encourage you to study this Psalm for yourself! Before your begin ask God to teach you wisdom & discernment as you read his perfect words. And next time you’re experiencing a loss of hope, despair, depression, anxiety, fear, worry or trouble pray aloud the words of King David & allow your heart to be transformed by this truth.

 

 

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